Thursday, March 31, 2011

Podcasts Return

Podcasting Conversations from Africa

After a long break (our last podcast was posted back in November 2010), we are happy share that we have a new audio podcast up and ready. This month's post features a brief conversation with Bishop Timothy Ndambuki of the Africa Brotherhood Church (ABC). We hope you have a chance to hear Bishop Ndambuki share a bit of the history and growth of the ABC as it has moved cross culturally throughout Eastern and Central Africa.

We have lots of audio content from over the past few months, and hope to get back on track with at least a monthly podcast. You can listen online or download the podcasts at our site, or subscribe for free on iTunes (Just search for fivekennys in the iTunes Store).

We are always interested in your feedback or suggestions for future podcasts. If you hit "comment" on this post, we'll be sure to respond to your message.

Bishop Timothy and Mary Ndambuki
Africa Brotherhood Church, Kenya

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

North Coast (Kenya)

Enjoying some Fun in the Sun on March Break

This past week was our children's March break vacation from Rosslyn Academy. We enjoyed four days away at the Indian Ocean, just North of Mombassa town on Nyali Beach. The drive from Nairobi to the coast use to take as much as twelve hours with traffic jams and road construction, but (if you can get out of the city earlier enough) the trip can now be done in less than six hours.

Vervet Monkey

One of our favourite vacation spots in Kenya is the Bahari Beach Resort, a popular German vacation spot, built on a spectacular coral cliff side. The low slung Makuti roofed complex (banana/palm leaf coverings), form a relaxing atmosphere. We had a great few days swimming, building sandcastles, reading, chasing monkeys, and playing games.

Tristan burying Ava in the sand

Ava taking her turn at burying her big brother

Camels on the Beach

Unlike beaches in Atlantic Canada, one of the unique features of East African beaches are the camels. You can hire a camel for a short stroll or a day long beach safari. Our kids took a short walk about a km up the beach.

Tristan and Ava on a beach walk

Emma camel riding

Ava leading the way

One of countless fishing dhows
that are scattered along the coast

It was great getaway! This week our kids are back to school and we are back to work. Thank you so much for keeping our family in your prayers. We are hoping to have some new content edited and up on the Podbean and iTunes podcast list soon. We'll post a link on the blog once they are ready.

God bless!
The Five Kennys

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Praying for Eastleigh

Aaron with Ehud Gachuga
and Daniel Wairagu Maina

Today was our last official meeting with Eastleigh Community Centre (ECC) director, Ehud Gachuga, as he completes his responsibilities this week before beginning a new position. Over the past four years, we have deeply appreciated Ehud's leadership as we have served together in partnership between Canadian Baptist Ministries and the Eastleigh Community Centre, a program of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA).

We remember back to our first meeting with Ehud in the Fall of 2007 and for the way the Lord used him to encourage us and provide the platform that made the Iftin Women's Empowerment Program possible. We are so thankful for the ways that Ehud and the ECC team have welcomed us into their midst and given us the great privilege of being a part of the work of the community centre in "restoring lost hope"!

As the ECC board of directors search for a new director, our friend Daniel Wairagu has agreed to step into the role of acting-director of the community centre. Please pray for Daniel and the entire ECC staff as they pull together during this time of transition.

Laura and Erica at the close of today's meetings

To learn more about the work of the Eastleigh Community Centre and the many outreach projects and events that are a part of tis hub of activity, please check out their blog at

Praying for Eastleigh
* Please remember the Gachuga family as they seek a new home and transition into life in a new community.
* We give thanks for Daniel's willingness to serve as the acting director. Please pray for wisdom and guidance for Daniel as he carries out his duties, and for the board as they begin the process of searching for a new director.
* Please pray for Laura, Farhiya, Nelius, Patrick, Tunis, Zahra, the community facilitators and members of the Iftin program.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mt. Kenya Trek (Post Three)

Sunrise on Mt. Kenya

Below Lower Simba Tarn

Please forgive the jumbled order of our posts, we have lots of photos from the four days on Mount Kenya, and later today we'll be sharing even more pictures with our friends (So, who knows, there may be a fourth post yet to come?). We had an incredible trip and shared some great experiences with our friends. We leave tomorrow morning for the remainder of our March Break Vacation with our children on the coast -- we couldn't imagine a more dramatic change from our four days on the mountain.
Erica on the long trek back to Old Moses (Day Three)
Aaron on the day three descent from Shipton's Camp

Taking a breather in tussock grasses and heather of the moorland on day two. This photo was taken about a km past the Meteorological Station where the Sirimon Route forks left on the way to the Liki North hut and right, down into the MacKinder Valley, we took the later path (going an extra 4 hours beyond Liki Hut to Shipton's Camp). When we do this again, we would like to try tenting at Liki Hut to break the long slog to Shipton's and give ourselves more time to acclimatize to the elevation and enjoy the scenic views from the ridge.

Refilling our water bottles in the Ontulili Stream
(Surprisingly, the water purification tablets
we used didn't taste so bad!)

We enjoyed lots of breaks along the trail to rest and
let our bodies get use to the higher altitude.
Crossing the Liki North Stream

A bird taking a rest on a Lobelia

We were impressed by the variety of birds from cuckoo shrikes and incredible green Malachite Sunbirds, to Kenrick's Starlings with amber feathers under their wings and in the forrest a black bird with fire engine red under feathers, we are guessing it may be a type of Starling but we are not bird watchers ourselves. Just one of the many beauties of the mountain.

God is an amazing artist!

Atalie and Erica on the climb

As we ascended the terrain and vegetation
continued to change dramatically

Day one and two were wet, in truth, day one was a miserable climb to Old Moses as we trudged through torrential rains. We were all soaked and chilled when we arrived despite our rain gear and warm clothes. We are so glad that Tim Bannister recommended we pack a camp stove and cream soup for when we got off the trail. It was a life saver!

Mt. Kenya is a cold mountain with temperatures dropping to -10 Celsius at night. It was strange to walk on frozen ground, snow and ice in Africa. Although the higher elevations only support lichens, it was surprising to see the variety of plant life that stretched up the mountain including many flowers from the cream coloured Protea to the fiery red Gladiolus.

Mountain Cabbage

On the trail

Day two was a 12 km trek that climbed over 1000 meters up a steep shoulder and down into Mackinder's Valley and back up to base of the peaks. Along the way we saw many plump Rock Hyrax and Mountain Mice, as well as a small antelope (probably a klipspringer).

Mel, Melissa and Kerry stopping for a break
before our last push to Shipton's Camp

Approaching the peaks on the Sirimon Route
through Mackinders Valley
Looking up on the backside of Point Lenana (4895 meters)
(Yes that is snow on the equator!)

Finally arrived at Shipton's Camp at 4200 meters
Just below the Batian and Nelion peaks.
The camp is so close to two of Mt. Kenya's twelve
glaciers, that at times you can hear them cracking.

The lonely outhouse at Shipton's Camp
surrounded by giant groundsel Senecio plants
(fortunately there are more convenient facilities inside the hut)

Mt. Kenya Trek (Post Two)

Dawn on day four back at Old Moses Camp

View from our tent

Aaron packing up our tent on the last morning of our trek

These little birds were very interested in us and even dashed
into our tent a few times for a look around.

At the Old Moses Camp Hut
Victory breakfast -- sausages, omelettes, and banana fritters!

"The Girls" on our last day at Mt. Kenya National Park

Aaron with our guides Cyrus and John
from Twinnings Safari Company

Melissa Dunning, Erica, and Atalie Dougherty

Mel McKee and Kerry Jividen

On the way down...

Leaving Old Moses Camp at 3300 meters in elevation, we left of the moor lands, that had stretch up toward the mountain top, and descended back through the belt of bamboo thickets and down into the forest of Cedars and Podocarpus trees, a good 8 km hike back to our van at the park gate. This part of the hike is where hikers often see Elephant and Cape Buffalo, but we only encountered a few bush buck on our ascent. While it would have been amazing too meet an elephant on the trail, we were glad that we made it through without any trouble.

By the time we walked back to the main gate we were all ready for a quick lunch at Nanyuki, and getting home for a hot shower and our soft beds back in Nairobi. It was an incredible trip. we are so thankful to our guides and porters who made the trek so enjoyable.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mt. Kenya Trek (Post One)

Hiking Mt. Kenya

Our Mt. Kenya Adventure

To begin our March break holiday, we joined a group of friends, from Nairobi, for a four day trek on Mount Kenya. Just 16 km from the equator, Mt. Kenya towers in the central highlands of Kenya at over 5000 meters in elevation. The glaciers create an amazing terrain and unique ecosystem that has earned Mt. Kenya the rare honour of being both a Unesco World Heritage Site and a Unseco Biosphere Reserve. While the two highest peaks, Batian (5199 m) and Nelion (5188 m), can only be reached by mountaineers with technical skills and support, the third highest peak, Point Lenana (4985 m) can be reached by hikers.

Kerry, Mel, Erica, Melissa, and Atalie
Setting off on the second day of our expedition

Aaron gearing up for the long hike
from Old Moses to Shipton's Hut

A view of Point Lenana from the beautiful Mackinder's Valley

We had a cozy night sleep in our tent
exhausted from a full days hike

We'll have a few more pictures to share tomorrow...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Guardians of Hope (Micro credit)

Jane Wairimu Mwaura
Guardians of Hope Project Maai-Mahiu, Kenya

One of the five pillars of the Guardians of Hope program is strengthening caregivers through sustainable incomes. An important part of this aspect of the GOH is training and support on savings, financial management, micro enterprise development and micro credit.

Erica interviewing Jane for a Canadian Baptist Ministries micro credit video

Jane Mwaura is a Guardian of Hope from Longonot Town, near Maai Mahiu, in the great Rift Valley. An arid and wind swept part of Kenya, much of the Rift Valley struggles with perpetual draught making agriculture difficult. Through the help of the GOH, Jane provides for Samuel and James, two AIDS orphans left in her care. Over the past five years, Jane has accessed micro loans of 10,000 Kenyan Shillings to build her business of collecting, dressing and selling pumice stone to merchants in Nairobi. On Monday, we visited Jane at her little store house where see sells her white and black pumice. This past weekend she sold an entire truck load of the textured rock to a company from the city.

On behalf of Jane, we share her greeting to all those supporting the ministry of the Guardians of Hope -- "Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! And God bless you!"

To learn more about the Guardians of Hope and the impact of micro credit, please check out the CBM website at

Pastor Simon, regional minister ACC&S Rift Valley,
Erica, Jane, and Aaron